When you consume food, it breaks down into glucose and enters your bloodstream.
From there, when blood sugar is high, your body usually signals your pancreas to release insulin to lower blood sugar. In people with diabetes, the pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it properly to fight high blood sugar.
“Basically, diabetes is a condition in which our bodies do not store and use sugar properly,” said Jennifer Trujillo, one of the medical assistants and founders of Valencia Health and Wellness in Belen. “And most of the time because it’s bombarded with too much of it. I usually tell a patient that they have too much sugar when they are diabetic. “
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 34 million Americans in the United States have the disease, and about one in five people doesn’t know they have it.
Trujillo and Cassandra Otero, the other medical assistant and co-owner of VHW, said about a quarter of the patients they treat are diabetic and even more are prediabetic.
Approximately 88 million Americans have prediabetes, which means their blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. That’s one in three Americans who can develop diabetes, and around 84 percent don’t even know they’re on that path.
According to the CDC, prediabetes has a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, or heart disease.
Some signs and symptoms of prediabetes may include being obese, being over 45 years of age, having an immediate family member with diabetes, being physically inactive, among other things.
However, prediabetes doesn’t mean you will inevitably get it. In fact, it can be prevented by leading a healthier lifestyle.
“You know, following a really low-carb and low-sugar diet makes a huge difference and cutting out sugary drinks,” Otero said. “Anything that’s white is usually what I tell my patients: pasta, potatoes, rice, and of course sugar.”
Types of Diabetes
There are two main types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is not due to lifestyle habits such as overeating and lack of exercise. Many people with type 1 diabetes are either born with the disease or have an autoimmune reaction that causes the body to turn on itself and use cells to destroy the pancreas.
When this pancreas is destroyed, either no or little insulin is produced, leaving a great reliance on daily insulin treatment. That means either taking multiple insulin shots a day or wearing an insulin pump to make sure blood sugar levels are maintained.
Most people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are usually younger, such as children, teenagers, and young adults. According to the CDC, only 5-10 percent of diabetics have type 1.
Type 2 diabetes, which is most common among Americans, is most common in people over 45 but is becoming more common in younger people. Type 2 diabetes is caused by improper lifestyle and diet, such as: B. Overeating and no exercise.
“Type 2 diabetics usually start out with lifestyle changes, so they need to improve their exercise and change their eating habits,” said Trujillo. “And then, from that point on, if it’s hard to control, we start them with oral medication. As the disease progresses, they often need insulin. “
Jennifer Trujillo and Cassandra Otero, owners of Valencia Health and Wellness in Belen, say diabetics can keep the disease going with a healthy diet and exercise.
Trujillo and Otero said there is a new form of diabetes – type 1 1/2, as they call it, although not officially – that is an early-onset type of diabetes, before type 1 or type 2 is diagnosed. It’s most common in children, they said, and the problems largely involve sugar levels.
There is a type of diabetes known as gestational diabetes that is diagnosed in pregnant women who do not already have the disease. This type of diabetes affects around 2 to 10 percent of pregnancies each year, according to the CDC.
If a properly maintained diet and lifestyle is followed during pregnancy, gestational diabetes can likely go away. However, if this is not the case, this type can turn into type 2 diabetes.
“During pregnancy, your body makes more hormones and goes through other changes, such as weight gain,” says the CDC of gestational diabetes. “These changes make your body’s cells use insulin less effectively, which is known as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance increases your body’s need for insulin. “
Effects of Diabetes
Diabetes, like many other diseases, can inevitably lead to death if poorly maintained. However, heart attacks, numbness in the limbs, and vision problems can occur for those who do not take proper care of them.
“It affects the heart, the kidneys. It also affects the nerves. A lot of people are numb, tingling, and their feet don’t feel particularly good, ”said Otero. “Vision is another problem. It affects the very small vessels in the eye and causes problems such as loss of vision there.
“It can create the need for dialysis and kidney failure,” she said. “But cardiovascular disease and heart attacks are probably the most common problems.”
Trujillo and Otero say that a healthier lifestyle – more exercise and better diet – is the best way to maintain or prevent diabetes, but it can be a lot harder for those who live in Valencia County. The reason is that the district is known as a food desert – with less access to healthier organic food.
“We’re seeing a lot of amazing improvements in patients who get really serious,” said Trujillo. “But that’s the hardest part of treating anyone to make these changes.”
How to deal with diabetes
While medicine is an important factor in maintaining diabetes, the most important factor is healthy eating. High blood sugar and low blood sugar can adversely affect a diabetic, so maintaining a healthy balance of carbohydrates is essential.
Carbohydrates can come in three forms – sugar, starch, and fiber. According to the CDC, diabetics should try to compare at least half their daily calorie count to carbohydrates, albeit with healthy ones like fresh fruit and oatmeal.
Insulin, which helps the body process this sugar, is another key factor in maintaining diabetes. If your blood sugar level is too high, a shot of insulin can bring it down to a normal level. However, this is not always the case – and the best way to maintain medication is to properly tell your doctor about blood sugar levels.
Exercise is another way to maintain diabetes. When you exercise, your body uses sugar for energy. This is a great way to avoid high blood sugar levels. Exercise for diabetics can be as simple as taking a daily walk or lifting light weights for half an hour. Basically, you keep your body moving.
“Exercise. The more muscle you have, the more you can use that extra sugar that’s floating around in your blood,” Otero said.